MONMOUTH, Ill. -- Kennedy Gooding's ninth-inning RBI double gave Illini West a 2-1 victory over West Hancock in a Class 2A Monmouth Regional semifinal game.
Illini West's Aden Trout led off top of the ninth with a single off reliever Dart Todd and then stole second base. Quinn Dupree was then brought in to pitch, and he got Jackson Porter to line out to second for the first out.
"Trout had the wherewithal to wait (the line drive) out and not get doubled up," Chargers coach Zak Huston said.
On the first pitch of the next at-bat, Gooding ripped a double to the left, bringing in Trout.
Gooding, who came in for relief of Porter in the eighth inning, retired the Titans in order in the ninth to earn a spot in Saturday's regional championship against Mercer County (22-5). The Golden Eagles beat the Chargers 5-2 earlier this year.
"We have to the put the bat on the ball. They're the No. 1 seed for a reason," Huston said of Mercer County. "They've got a good thing going. We'll be able to start Gooding, so that's a plus. If we play good defense behind him, we have a chance."
Illini West (13-16) scored its first run in the second inning on an RBI single from Jonah Burt. West Hancock (17-7) responded in the third when Nathan Cameron singled to right field to bring in Chase Hartweg.
Porter pitched 7 2/3 innings, striking out 14 and allowing just four hits. West Hancock starter Caleb Adams came out after the second out of the seventh inning after giving up eight hits while striking out nine.
"These were two of the better starting pitchers in the area going at it," Huston said. "They both did a heck of job keeping the opposing hitters off balance."
Class 2A Monmouth-United Regional Championship
Illini West 2, West Hancock 1
Illini West 010 000 001--2 11 2
West Hancock 001 000 000--1 4 2
Porter, Gooding (8) and Gooding, Porter (8); Adams, Todd (7), Dupree (9) and Fox. WP--Gooding. LP--Dupree. 2B--Illini West 1 (Gooding).